A Fond Look Back at My 10 Most Popular Posts of 2013

All in all it was a successful year here at Len Penzo dot Com. In terms of traffic, the blog had almost one million visits and nearly two million page views in 2013.

I know. I don’t understand why either — but I’ll take it!

Anyway, thank you all for occasionally stopping by and taking a few minutes to read what I post here. I do appreciate it!

For what it’s worth, I published more than 200 articles on this blog in 2013; here are the 10 most popular, along with a brief commentary on each one.

The number in parentheses is each post’s overall page view rank for 2013 among my entire catalog of 1007 articles in the Len Penzo dot Com archives.

1. (11th overall) Economic Collapse 101: What It Will Look Like and How It May Start   (February 27, 2013)

We live in interesting times. Consider this: History shows that all fiat currencies eventually become worthless. In fact, the median lifetime of all the world’s paper currencies — past and present — is just 39 years. With that in mind, the US dollar has been backed by blind faith ever since Richard Nixon decoupled it from gold 42 years ago. Today, that faith is rapidly eroding. This piece explains why the demise of the US dollar — and America’s high standard of living — is closer than you might think.

2. (16) A Simple Trick for Getting Credit Card Interest Charges Waived (April 3, 2013)

Who knew? I considered this to be a “throw-away” post. It turned out to be the biggest surprise of the year.

3. (17) Economic Collapse 101: 10 Ways to Prepare for the Unknown   (March 11, 2013)

First and foremost, this is a personal finance blog for responsible people. For that reason, I wrote this post that outlines important preparations everyone should consider to protect themselves and their family — just in case the unthinkable happens. You can rest assured that this is a topic I’ll be covering with increasing frequency in 2014.

4. (24) 10 Red Flags That May Signal You’re In Big Financial Trouble   (January 24, 2013)

This article was inspired by my love of NatGeo’s Locked Up Abroad television series. While that show focuses on the first-hand accounts of people who have been incarcerated or kidnapped and held for ransom in foreign countries, this post discusses debtor’s prisons — and some telltale signs that you may be headed for one.

5. (38) Why Extended Warranties for Tires are a Waste of Money   (June 19, 2013)

This is another one of those pieces that I never dreamed would be one of my most-read posts of 2013. I wrote it after a tire salesman used a little trickery to try and get me to buy an extended warranty on new car tires. He failed.

6. (44) I Finally Broke Down and Bought a New Car. Yes, New.   (April 29, 2013)

There was no shortage of reader opinions regarding the wisdom of my decision to finally take the plunge and buy a new car this year. As far as I was concerned, after 16 years of driving my 1997 Honda Civic, it was time. Many of you disagreed.

7. (54) What It Really Feels Like to Be a Billionaire   (January 1, 2013)

This was my first article of 2013. Shortly after I posted it, my friend Joe Saul-Sehy from Stacking Benjamins told me that he heard Dave Ramsey discuss the piece on his nationally syndicated radio show. I love it!

8. (56) Why Some Who Cut Expenses to the Bone Still Can’t Make Ends Meet   (June 3, 2013)

The reason most people get into financial trouble is because they make lousy choices. And those who have the hardest time making ends meet can often trace their problem to one of the biggest choices we all make in life. Can you guess what it is?

9. (65) 14 Reasons Why Monitored Home Security Systems Are for Suckers   (August 12, 2013)

More than 4 out of every 5 homes in the US don’t have a monitored security system in place to ward off potential thieves. There’s a good reason for that. On second thought … make that 14 reasons.

10. (69) How I Live on Less Than $40,000 Annually: Jonathan from Ohio   (August 14, 2013)

Earlier this year I started a new series featuring people who successfully make ends meet on $40,000 per year or less. So far more than a dozen Len Penzo dot Com readers have shared their stories — most live here in the US, but folks from Canada and Romania contributed too. I’ve still got one or two more testimonials in the hopper that I will post in the coming weeks. If you’d like to share your story in 2014, let me know — I’d love to hear from you. Based upon the popularity of this series, so would my other readers!

Honorable Mention: (72) Comparing Tiger Woods’ Home Carrying Costs to Mine (September 16, 2013)

This summer I learned that Tiger Woods’ massive estate on the Florida coast was undergoing some very expensive emergency repairs to keep it from sinking. After some additional research I discovered that Tiger had a $54 million mortgage. Yikes! That inspired me to compare our home carrying costs — that is, the true cost of owning our homes. One of my favorite discoveries: Tiger’s monthly lawn maintenance expenses ($40,000) are 308 times higher than mine. Psst. Please don’t tell that to my gardener.

Photo Credit: D Mahendra


  1. 4

    Len Penzo says

    @Wilson: Thank you. I promise I’ll be challenging some widely accepted conventional wisdom of traditional personal finance management in the coming year. Not by choice, but out of necessity.
    @Joe: Happy New Year to you too! Thankfully, the blog is still growing.
    @Jen: I know. No matter how hard I try, Jen, I still can’t wrap my head around having that kind of wealth.

  2. 6


    I hadn’t seen your top post but it does go to the root of understanding.

    Money is always being destroyed – whether it is Hurricane Katrina destroying New Orleans or WW2 destroying much of Europe.

    While you can write off the asset – the broken houses, the destroyed cities – the money used to buy the asset in the first place is not written out of the public debt.

    So the total national debt of a country includes things that have been built more than once and is necessarily monotonically increasing.

    Therefore printing money does not necessarily decrease the value of money in circulation at all.

    It is essential to print money or we will end up without being able to repair the infrastructure let alone move forwards, educate the kids or anything else. The gold standard is a recipe for depression – it places the power in the hands of those who already own gold or the gold mines. Silly really.

    A nation with a sovereign currency is not the same as a household at all so you shouldn’t really worry quite as much! But it makes good copy.

    Happy New Year anyway!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *